The New York Rangers capped their best regular season in history with a shutout over Ottawa, clinching the President’s Trophy and their 55th win. To reflect on this type of season is hard, as the job is ultimately not finished. There are 16 wins left, and the Rangers look poised to go on a long run.

With yet another multi-point game, Artemi Panarin finished his 2023-2024 regular season campaign with a line of 49-71-120, becoming the second highest scoring Ranger in franchise history (Jaromir Jagr). Panarin has put together an MVP caliber season and has made the Rangers a true threat to play against come playoff time.

We now know the relationship with Gerard Gallant was not great, and that likely had an impact on Panarin the last two years. Under Peter Laviolette, the offense runs through him and he’s trusted to carry the team. He’s the Jalen Brunson of the Rangers. Just like Brunson, Panarin is slept on in the national conversation for what he has done for this franchise since he’s been here. The Rangers don’t get to the playoffs without him.

Igor Shesterkin was vintage Igor Shesterkin, stopping all 26 shots, getting his 4th shutout of the season. With the way Shesterkin has played this second half of the regular season, it’s a good omen of what is to come. Thankfully, unlike the Henrik Lundqvist years, Igor is not alone in this fight. The top talent on the Rangers can carry Shesterkin if he’s a bit off in a game, and he can carry the Rangers if the shooting is off in a game.

Remember, the Rangers went through a brutal stretch of bad goaltending in December and January, still managed to go .500 in that span, and still won the President’s Trophy.

This is less of a recap about last night’s win and more of a mini tribute to this year’s team. So how about a general shoutout to what Peter Laviolette was able to do. Few saw this coming. Laviolette was the right coach, with the right staff, with the right pulse on the team, and with the right attitude to lead this team behind the bench. He wasn’t the popular choice, but he was the right choice.

The Rangers aren’t just vibes this year. There is structure to go with the vibes. They are as good as anyone.


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